Phil Bryant

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Phil Bryant
Governor Phil Bryant.jpg
64th Governor of Mississippi
Assumed office
January 10, 2012
Lieutenant Tate Reeves
Preceded by Haley Barbour
31st Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 10, 2008 – January 10, 2012
Governor Haley Barbour
Preceded by Amy Tuck
Succeeded by Tate Reeves
40th Auditor of Mississippi
In office
November 1996 – January 10, 2008
Governor Kirk Fordice
Ronnie Musgrove
Haley Barbour
Preceded by Steven Patterson
Succeeded by Stacey Pickering
Personal details
Born Dewey Phillip Bryant
(1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 62)
Moorhead, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Deborah Hays
Residence Governor's Mansion
Education Hinds Community College
University of Southern Mississippi (BA)
Mississippi College (MA)
Website Government website

Dewey Phillip "Phil" Bryant (born December 9, 1954)[1] is an American politician from the state of Mississippi who has served as the 64th Governor of Mississippi since 2012.[2] He previously served as the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi from 2008 to 2012 and as the 40th State Auditor of Mississippi from 1996 to 2008.

Bryant, a Republican, was elected as governor in the 2011 gubernatorial election, defeating the Democratic nominee, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. He was reelected in the 2015 election, defeating truck driver Robert Gray.

Early life and education[edit]

Bryant was born in Moorhead, Mississippi, in Sunflower County, Mississippi, in the Delta region. The son of Dewey C., a diesel mechanic,[3] and Estelle R. Bryant, he grew up with two brothers.[4] Bryant's family moved to Jackson where his father worked for Jackson Mack Sales[5] and was later Service Manager there.[6] Dewey Phillip Bryant attended Council McCluer High School his junior and senior years. Council McCluer was a segregationist academy founded after the U.S. Supreme Court forced schools to desegregate with its 1969 Alexander v. Holmes decisions. Bryant studied first at Hinds Community College, and received an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. The subject was a deputy sheriff serving in Hinds County from 1976 to 1981 where he worked undercover in drug law enforcement.[7] He subsequently earned a master's degree at Mississippi College, where he would later teach Mississippi Political History both before and during his first term as Governor of Mississippi.[8] For the years leading up to his election as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Bryant worked as an insurance claim investigator.[9]


Bryant in 2008

Following his election, Bryant served five years as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. He was the Vice Chairman of the Insurance Committee. Notably, he sponsored the Capital Gains Tax Cut Act of 1992.

In 1996, he was appointed to be State Auditor by Republican Governor Kirk Fordice. Bryant was subsequently elected to a full term as State Auditor in November 1999 and re-elected in 2003.

In 2007, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, defeating the Democratic Party candidate, State Representative Jamie Franks.

Governor of Mississippi[edit]

2011 election[edit]

Bryant won the Republican primary in the gubernatorial election in 2011. He defeated Democratic nominee Johnny DuPree on November 8, with 60.98% of the vote compared to DuPree's 39.0%.[10] This was the first time since Reconstruction that Mississippi elected a Republican to succeed an outgoing Republican governor.

First term[edit]

On January 10, 2012, Bryant was sworn in as the 64th Governor of Mississippi. Former Republican State Chairman Jim Herring, a lawyer from Canton, headed the transition team.[11] Once inaugurated, Bryant signed into law a bill requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals in an attempt to "end abortion in Mississippi". The state has a single abortion clinic, served only by out-of-state doctors who lack in-state admitting privileges.[12] Bryant faced against Democratic nominee Robert Gray in the 2015 gubernatorial election and won with over 66% of the vote. Bryant's election marked the first time since Reconstruction that a Republican had been elected to succeed another Republican as governor.

In March 2012, Bryant endorsed Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the 2012 United States Presidential Election.[13]

2015 re-election[edit]

Governor Bryant ran for re-election in 2015, facing off against Mitch Young in the Republican primary, carrying 91.7% of the vote.[14] On November 5, Bryant faced the Democratic nominee, truck driver Robert Gray, winning with 66.6% of the vote.[15] As Mississippi is one of the eight US states that have a two-term lifetime limit, he is ineligible to seek a third term in 2019.

Second term[edit]

In 2015, Phil Bryant refused to support legislation to change the Flag of the State of Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle saltire, even though some members of his party, like Mississippi's Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, publicly said the flag needed to change so that it could represent all Mississippians. Phil Bryant refused to accept this position, and in February 2016, he issued a proclamation declaring April, Confederate Heritage Month.[16] Investigative reporting into Mississippi statewide public officials' misuse of political campaign funds showed that Bryant had not made payments to himself or utilized campaign credit cards for unrelated personal spending and since 2012 the subject had spent 2.6 million on his campaign with almost as much left over.[17] The campaign fund was closed out with the majority of funds going to a political action committee, Imagine Mississippi PAC.[18]

In March 2016, Bryant endorsed fellow Republican Ted Cruz for President of the United States.[19]

On February 21, 2017, the subject announced that he would make emergency budget cuts to most state agency budgets for the third time in the current fiscal year, having made similar cuts in the previous year due to lack of projected revenue.[20]

HB-1523 controversy[edit]

On April 5, 2016, Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523. HB-1523 allows government employees and private businesses cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples who want to marry.[21] The Governor stated on Twitter that HB-1523, "merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."[22]

Personal life[edit]

He and his wife Deborah have two children, Katie and Patrick, and two grandchildren.[23] They are members of St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Brandon.[23]

Deborah Bryant had a professional career in hospital management at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, and is active in a number of health-related causes.[24]

Electoral history[edit]

Mississippi's Auditor Election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant (inc.) 587,212 76.31
Reform Billy Blackburn 182,292 23.69
Mississippi's Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant 112,140 57.1
Republican Charlie Ross 84,110 42.9
Mississippi's Lieutenant Governor Election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant 431,747 58.57
Democratic Jamie Franks, Jr. 305,409 41.43
Mississippi's Governor Republican Primary Election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant 172,300 59.46
Republican Dave Dennis 74,546 25.72
Republican Ron Williams 25,555 8.82
Republican Hudson Holiday 13,761 4.75
Republican James Broadwater 3,626 1.25
Mississippi's Governor Election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant 544,851 60.98
Democratic Johnny DuPree 348,617 39.02
Mississippi's Governor Republican Primary Election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant (inc.) 254,779 91.84
Republican Mitch Young 22,628 8.16
Mississippi's Governor Election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Bryant (inc.) 476,697 66.38
Democratic Robert Gray 231,643 32.25
Reform Shawn O'Hara 9,845 1.37


  1. ^ Who's Who In America-2009 (63 ed.). Marquis Who's Who. 2008. 
  2. ^ "About Governor Bryant - Mississippi's 64th Governor, Phil Bryant". 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 1, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ 1976 Jackson City Directory
  5. ^ 1971 Jackson City Directory
  6. ^ 1990 Jackson Suburban Directory
  7. ^ Harrison, Tracey M., editor. (Winter 2017). "At Home with Mississippi's First Family" Beacon. Mississippi College website Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Harrison, 2017.
  9. ^ 1991 Jackson Suburban Directory
  10. ^ "Phil Bryant's Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  11. ^ "James H. Herring". Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ March 8, 2012, 11:59 PM (2012-03-08). "Mississippi governor endorses Romney". CBS News. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  14. ^ "2015 Republican Primary". Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "2015 General Election". Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Mississippi Governor Declares April Confederate Heritage Month". Retrieved Feb 25, 2016. 
  17. ^ Mollie Bryant, Geoffrey Sender, & Kate Royals. (March 6, 2016). "Moving beyond honor system". Clarion Ledger. (Jackson). p. A14.
  18. ^ Nave, R.L. (January 31, 2017) "Bryant transfers campaign funds to PAC". Mississippi Today website Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "Gov. Bryant endorses Cruz". Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  20. ^ Pender, Geoff. (February 21, 2017). "Bryant forced to make more emergency budget cuts". Clarion Ledger website Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  21. ^ "Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant gets bill allowing denial of services to gays". Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  22. ^ "Mississippi governor signs law allowing service denial to gay couples". Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  23. ^ a b "Phil Bryant". Friends of Phil Bryant. Retrieved June 19, 2009. 
  24. ^ "About-deborah-bryant". Mississippi First Lady. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 

21. Phil and Roy Bryant's Relationship

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Steven A. Patterson
Auditor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Stacey E. Pickering
Preceded by
Amy Tuck
Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Tate Reeves
Preceded by
Haley Barbour
Governor of Mississippi
Party political offices
Preceded by
Haley Barbour
Republican nominee for Governor of Mississippi
2011, 2015
Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Mississippi
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eric Holcomb
as Governor of Indiana
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Mississippi
Succeeded by
Bruce Rauner
as Governor of Illinois